It's all about the confidence.
These wise words were uttered by Gok Wan throughout much of the early noughties when he was on TV helping women find their self esteem, self worth and a bit of self love with their bodies.
And today I'd like you to think of me as your podcasting Gok Wan because I'm here to get you podcast confident.
Don't worry I won't ask you to strip down to your pants and vest and walk down the catwalk in the food court at the Trafford Centre, but I will ask you to put yourself out there when it comes to your podcast.
Of course if you fancy building up your podcast confidence in the nude then crack on. Look what being naked has done for The Naked Podcast. (If you've never heard of the Naked Podcast, yes it is a podcast where everybody gets naked. No it's not saucy. Yes it is a great listen.)
So why am I talking confidence now? Well quite simply I'm seeing so many people putting off starting their podcast because they are scared.
And when you think about it there's certainly a fair bit to play on your mind. And it's not just when you're starting out. It could be getting the right kit (My non geeky guide to the podcasting kit you will need is in episode 50) being unsure of how to get the best sound from where you're recording, hating the sound of your voice and that fear of putting yourself out there - what right do you have to have a podcast where you get to talk about everything like you know what you're on about? eh?
And here's the thing, I went through similar thoughts when I started my first podcast AND when I started this podcast.
So how are you going to find your podcast confidence - naked or indeed not naked.
According to The Internet confidence is a belief in yourself, the conviction that you have the ability to meet life's challenges and to succeed AND this is the important bit, the willingness to act accordingly.
First off, I think there is a general dip in confidence at the moment because we've been living through all the uncertainties of a global pandemic. Life has been throwing challenges at us all and maybe you, like me, have been dipping in to your confidence reservoir. Maybe you need a bit of a confidence deluge to bring the reserves back up to where they normally are. I totally understand and get it. This is what this episode is here for. I promise not to chuck in any inspirational quotes, but I will get you to do the power pose.
In fact let's get the power pose done right now.
If you've never heard of the power pose it's really simple you stand up, feet shoulder width apart and plant your hands on your hips. Think old school Wonder Woman. There's some debate about whether power poses actually make you more powerful or confident, but I enjoy pretending I'm wonder woman every now and again. I also think standing tall and not slouching puts me in a better frame of mind.
So here are my top tips for building your podcast confidence.
Find some podcast communities and join them
There's loads of podcast groups on facebook. Some are noisier than others but the vast majority are fun, supportive and full of podcasters at different points on the podcast journey.
I'm in a few groups - one for Podcast Editors (ooh the geek levels are high in that one) one for female podcast editors (less geeky, just as technical and hugely supportive).
I'm also in some of the UK podcast groups too, these tend to be less chatty but they're worth checking out.
Follow podcasters on twitter and join in the podcast hashtags. Same as Instagram - follow podcasters there too. Chat with them, ask questions.
Good accounts to follow are Pods Up North, PodBible, Great British Podcasts, Podcast Movement, Content Is Queen plus of course me Charlotte Foster Podcasts and your favourite podcasts and podcasters.
I subscribe to the Podnews newsletter by James Cridland - it's got loads of industry news, jobs and I keep an eye out for it landing in my inbox every day.
Being part of these communities means I am arming myself with knowledge about podcasting. That means I am boosting my confidence not just by increasing my knowledge but by seeing what others are up to. In particular being able to see how much I do know. Especially in the facebook groups seeing people asking lots of questions and me being able to answer those questions gave me a tangible "you do know what you're doing" moment that I could hold on to.
I'll be honest, some of the questions also gave me a very tangible "what the heck? Is that even in English because I don't understand a word of it" moment too.
But flipping that over I soon learned what I needed to learn because everybody benefits from a question being asked and answered in public. In fact I'm following a post in one of the groups I'm in right now because I'm keen to find out the answer to one of the questions posed.
Sticking with the find your tribe theme, go and hang out at podcaster events. Virtually or in real life.
One of the silver linings to come out of the pandemic (and believe me I'd rather there had been no pandemic) is the rise of the online event!
For much of 2019 and beginning of 2020 I'd promised to go to podcast meetups, but there were none local to me. The nearest would be Manchester - about 35 minutes on a fast train but of course I've got to get the station and then from the station to the venue. A big pain in the bottom at the end of a long day. Fast forward to the Pandemic Era and I've been turning up to more of these events because I can be at home in my PJs and my Christmas jumper. (yes in April. It's cosy OK).
And by spending time with people you begin to understand how you fit in. You get to know others in virtual real life so you increase your network. And the more you hang out with people the more you feel as though you belong with them.
Going to events both real and virtual have been huge boosts for me. I've learnt from some experts and also had my knowledge confirmed to myself.
Plus I've made some great friends along the way too.
I'm not on commission I promise but do check out the Pods Up North team. Whilst there's no in person events they are putting on a few workshops that you can catch live or on the replay!
I'll possibly see you there!
Listen to more podcasts.
This is something I get all my clients to do. Listen to more podcasts and not just your favourite podcasts in your favourite categories.
I want you to devour as many different types of podcasts as you can. I want you to listen to them and ask yourself why the host is doing what the host is doing? Why have they structured it this way? What are they trying to achieve do you think?
I remember studying English Literature for my A Levels and my English teacher telling my class that we'd never be able to read a book again without trying to deconstruct it and understand truly what the author was saying. Bad news Mrs English teacher I can totally read a book and not care about the use of pathetic fallacy. That's probably why I only got a D. But back to the actual point - I want you to be critically listening to these podcasts ready to take an A Level in podcasting.
Giving yourself an understanding of podcasting will help massively. You'll also hear people at all levels of podcasting, from the big studios sounding all perfect and put together with music, jingles and whooshes - to the bedroom recordings with computer alerts going off and dogs barking.
And do you know what? Knowing that there are those podcasts out there and that they are listened to and enjoyed should give you the motivation and confidence to crack on with your podcast too. Or the motivation to keep going.
Which brings me nicely on to my last point.
The best way to get confident is to just get on and do it.
A lack of confidence comes from the unknown and the unfamiliar. So just start your podcast and get good as you go along. Get familiar with what you are doing, make the mistakes and learn from them.
I know it's so easy for me to say that, but it's a bit like the old sticking plaster analogy - just rip it off and get on with it. Or maybe that's not the best analogy because the next time you rip it off it won't hurt so much, and the next time it will hurt a little less too and so on.
You'll get to the point where you'll be enjoying it in no time. Or at the very least not hating it.
I can't stress enough though how much creating your podcast will help you become confident in your podcasting life.
Think about when you first learned to drive, how nervous were you? I remember my first driving lesson gripping the steering wheel and being pretty scared when another car came down the road.
But the next lesson was a little less scary, so was the next and so on until I began to enjoy it and passed my test. Of course driving on my own for the first time was a bit nervy until I got used to it. It's the same with podcasting. The first few episodes might be a bit stop start with a bumpy bit or two but after keeping at it you'll be cruising down the podcast motorway!
You can of course hire yourself a podcast coach. Get somebody to answer those questions you have that aren't answered in the facebook groups. Get those questions answered and tailored exactly to your needs.
Get them to give you constructive feedback on your podcast plans, on your podcast technique, on your recording set up - pretty much anything and everything to do with your podcast.
Get them to do a podcast audit for you.
A podcast coach will be that critical friend - guide you along the podcasting path and checking in on you. Don't expect them to just tell you what to do, the best coaches give you the tools so you can make your own decisions as well steering you away from the danger zones.
I do offer a podcast confidence power hour and I'm really keen to work with you to help you get over these podcast fears. I totally understand these fears - I'm going through a bit of a confidence dip with parts of my knowledge around business stuff. I understand it's hard to put your hand up and say I'm a bit scared of this. Especially when we're grown ups and meant to be able to do everything and not be beaten by what is essentially talking out loud (or in my case admin ha. And I am taking my own advice here by the way. I'm getting somebody in to help me!).
There's still a lot to talk about with podcast confidence so I'll be spending the next few weeks looking at the topic. I'll explore what to do if you hate your voice, I'll look at podcast imposter syndrome and the fear of putting yourself out there and the potential for a bad review or trolling.